U.Va. Health System Stroke Team Wins Charles L. Brown Award for Patient Care Quality

December 8, 2009 — Although they may not realize it, the more than 1,000 neurovascular patients evaluated and treated at the University of Virginia Medical Center's Primary Stroke Center each year have benefitted from the work of a multi-disciplinary Quality Support Team.

The Medical Center recently acknowledged the dedication and success of the stroke team, which is responsible for constantly evaluating and improving stroke patient care, by naming it the winner of the fourth annual Charles L. Brown Patient Care Quality Award. Created in 2006, the award honors the late Charles L. Brown, who served as a Health Sciences Council member and adviser. The award provides funding for continuing professional education and quality improvement efforts.

U.Va. has achieved compliance rates of 90 percent or more in each of the 10 performance measures for stroke care recommended by The Joint Commission. "When we chose 90 percent as our compliance goal, we thought it was lofty because it was well above the 85 percent required for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association performance achievement award," explains Heather Turner, a stroke program coordinator who leads the team.

The Quality Support Team works behind the scenes, collecting and analyzing data about the Stroke Center's performance in caring for patients. The team also monitors industry trends and developments to ensure that clinical practices and continuing staff education at the center are top-notch.

Team members include the stroke center medical director, a stroke fellow, nurses, nurse managers, physical and occupational therapists, speech language pathologists and a nutritionist.

"We are thrilled about this quality award for the Stroke Team. It is just another indicator that we are providing the very highest level of care to our stroke patients," said Dr. Karen C. Johnston, chairwoman of the U.Va. Department of Neurology.

Established in 1986, U.Va.'s Primary Stroke Center earned the Joint Commission's Certificate of Distinction in the Management of Primary Stroke in 2005 and attained recertification in 2007 and 2009. Its specially trained staff provides comprehensive, round the clock treatment and care.

In addition to the clot buster t-PA, the U.Va. Primary Stroke Center is the only facility in central Virginia that offers all FDA-approved therapies and provides advanced stroke imaging, leading-edge interventional neuroradiology procedures and investigational medical and surgical therapies.

This story originally appeared on the U.Va. Health System Web site.